Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Advice to Someone Considering Taking Mind-Altering Drugs

Here's an interesting note I received, followed by my reply:

I'm interested in your new book due to a personal situation. It's the memoir Mormon Punk: From LSD to LDS. I'm willing to donate to help get your book published if you help me.

I read the sample chapter about when you were on LSD at a concert, and felt like your thoughts could be a trap, and i am intrigued. I want to know about what caused you to flip 180 degrees, about your experience "meeting the devil" and your thoughts on psychedelics.

I am strongly considering taking a mild dose of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. I've done them a couple times several years back and only had positive experiences. This is paralleled by recent experiments done with them at top medical centers around the country (i.e. UCLA) and their long history of use by native tribes, along with peyote and ayahuasca.

My only fear is that of spiritual confusion. Honestly, if done with the right intentions i think they can be highly spiritually beneficial. Yet I still want to hear your experience and point of view. Enclosing more of your memoir, specifically the chapter on your acid trip and subsequent thoughts would be great, although any advice would be appreciated. Again, I'm willing to donate to help get your book published.

Well, I come at it from a Mormon background. I grew up hearing accounts of demons attacking people, and I remember church teachers saying that drugs can open you up to demonic influence, as do occult things (even Ouija Boards). As a rebellious teen, I thought it was all a joke, but after taking acid several times (and shrooms once), as well as dabbling in the occult, I began to suspect there might be something to it.

There was one acid trip where something or someone was trying to sell me on the idea that the universe sees humans as just another animal; I hallucinated that my friends turned into animals, and thoughts entered my mind that people are just animals, with no higher spiritual or theological dimension. It bugged me at the time for reasons I couldn't understand or explain, and later I decided that it was demonic suggestion, made possible because my mind was opened through the drug. I think it was demonic because if I had accepted that people are just animals, I would have begun behaving more like an animal with no higher morals, values, etc.

The actual devil experience came a few weeks after my last acid trip, although I may still have been smoking marijuana at that time. Late one night, I was writing in a journal about the possibility of doing a 180 and going on a Mormon mission. I had been feeling uneasy about the path I was on. I felt like I was now at a crossroads, and if I chose to stay on that path, I probably wouldn't have another chance to leave it, as I would be getting myself more deeply involved in drugs, sex, and the occult (for example, one friend was pushing me to try heroin at that time).

Now, I didn't see or hear anything down in my basement bedroom that night, but I felt a strong angry force trying to break into the room and get me. It was almost like something was trying to punch its way into the room through some kind of invisible barrier. Luckily it stopped before it broke through (I may have prayed for protection or something--I was seriously scared shitless). I felt no doubt that whoever or whatever it was wanted to just throttle me, just obliterate me. It was so pissed that I was slipping away from all the traps it had so carefully lain for me. (My earlier LSD trips may have primed me in some way to sense that. It didn't feel like a flashback, though. It felt extremely real.)

So from a Mormon perspective, I'd say to tread very carefully. Unseen beings do exist, in my experience, and many of them are evil ones who are actively trying to ruin our lives (Mormonism has a whole story of who they are, why they hate us, etc.). I don't know if it's possible to combine God and drugs in some positive way (Mormonism would say not). But in my experience, it's easy for unseen beings to confuse people under the influence of mind-altering drugs, by projecting mental suggestions into the person's head, as I felt happened to me a few times on acid.

Good luck to you. Don't take anything you "realize" under the influence of psychedelic drugs at face value. Be skeptical that someone may be trying to trick or deceive or mislead you away from the reality of God. Personally, I really don't think God ever speaks to people through drugs.

Or if you're not religious at all and don't believe that unseen personages could exist beyond our mortal awareness, then knock yourself out! I'm now 46, and I'm not aware of any lasting effects from my drug years at ages 17-19. But then again, who knows if something permanent happened to my brain or body of which I'm not yet aware...

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